29 Jan 2005

Vanuatu in talks with New Caledonia over fish seizure

5:19 am on 29 January 2005

The Vanuatu minister of public works, Maxime Carlot Korman, has been holding talks with authorities in New Caledonia in a bid to resolve a dispute over their shared maritime border.

The row stems from an incident in November when a French patrol boat seized a vessel suspected of illegal fishing.

Official maps in Vanuatu and France each claim the area in which the vessel was seized, as their own.

The fishing vessel was released after the seizure but the incident may yet have ramifications for Taiwan, whose flag the ship was flying, and Fiji, where the crew was based.

The discussions in Noumea are thought to centre on which maps ought to have been used by the French patrol boat which seized the fishing vessel.

Mr Carlot Korman has been accompanied by members of the Vanuatu Maritime Authoritiy as well as a legal adviser.